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August 16th, 2007, 15:52
@Corwin: the diceless Amber tabletop RPG has some nice elements in it. All players play one Prince or Princess of Amber with corresponding powers, trumps and portfolio's. Aim of the game is to claim the throne and become King/Queen and that means fighting all your siblings. After customising your character in typical Amber-style an auction starts of the game. In the auction the portfolio's (dominion over sea, forest and/or castle), powers (i.e. ability to scribe new trumps, ability to teleport without walking the Pattern etc) and some major Amberian (?) artifacts get distributed amongst the highest bidders (sacrificing character points to get them). Then all are summoned to the castle to inform them that the King has disappeared and is in all likelihood dead. From that point the struggle for power commences with a lot of politics, backstabbing, forming alliances and armies, fighting, betrayal etc. I only played it three times (becoming king once) but I have fond memories of those campaigns. And I don't mean the pizza….
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amber_D…leplaying_Game

@Alrik: I have read a book about high sensitivity and I am intrigued by this phenomenon. Although it lacks a thorough neuroscientific underpinning (imho), it somehow captures a lot of seemingly unrelated experiences and characteristics under one umbrella. Whatever the underlying neurophysiological processes may be, I think it mostly affects people who have a learned (or inborn) tendency to direct their attention to the moods and needs of (significant) others while at the same time not being able to shield themselves for incoming stimuli from the outside world. In my work I see it often in adults who had "unsafe" parenting and who have learned to cope with unpredictability by being attentive to "danger" signals emitted by the other. This becomes then a second nature survival strategy that exists well into adulthood. It potentially makes for really socially sensitive and caring people but it seems like they pay a price for not being able to shield themselves properly and thusly get bombarded with negative stimuli such as the depressed/angry/fearful mood of the other, or even harsh sounds and sights. It's not uncommon to see that they live a socially withdrawn life, content with being at home and directing energy towards creative hobbies that they can undertake alone.

Started reading the last Harry Potter, tragically some of the ending got spoiled for me by a friend who thought I had read it already while actually it was my girlfriend who had just finished. Because I just moved this week to a new home, TV and internet are still out (typing this at work now) so I'm happy to have something to read to get my mind off all the stuff that still has te be done in and around the house.
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August 16th, 2007, 16:00
Originally Posted by slam23 View Post
Started reading the last Harry Potter, tragically some of the ending got spoiled for me by a friend who thought I had read it already while actually it was my girlfriend who had just finished. Because I just moved this week to a new home, TV and internet are still out (typing this at work now) so I'm happy to have something to read to get my mind off all the stuff that still has te be done in and around the house.
I've read all the previous Harry Potters, but somehow I just don't have any interest in reading the last one. Am I weird?
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August 16th, 2007, 16:07
Yes, the high sensitivity thing is very interesting.

What you describe is only one factor among others, as far as I know.

The only relatively certain thing I know about is an unusual high amount of Cortisol within these people.
Apart from that, scientific research is still "in its childhood shoes", as we say here.
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August 16th, 2007, 16:22
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
I've read all the previous Harry Potters, but somehow I just don't have any interest in reading the last one. Am I weird?
Maybe it is the mega-super-duper hype surrounding it. We loved it, there were good and bad elements like all of the books, but overall I found it very enjoyable and worth the read.

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August 16th, 2007, 16:45
@ Alrik: Kinderschoenen?
Literal translation of expressions and figure of speech from one language to another is quite funny. That could be a nice thread, for example: I'm standing red on the bank (I'm in debt financially)….
It's interesting that you mention cortisol, because it is at the core of the human stress system (or axis as it often called). It is also suspected to play a role in (recurring) depression and is the major culprit in Cushing's disease. The latter patients suffer from fatigue and oversensitivity for harsh stimuli. Cortisol plays a crucial role in the "tonus" of arousal, the way the brain gets tuned to be extra alert to outside information. Now, the question then should be: do some people have a predisposition (genetically) to have high amounts of cortisol in their neurophysiological system (probably the leading hypothesis in the field of high sensitivity?) or does the amount of cortisol production increase irreversibly under enduring stressful situations leading to permanent cortisol disbalance and high arousal tonus?

@Prime Junta: having trouble saying goodbye maybe? I did not want to finish Lord of the Rings but I found that rereading has it's own merits. But sometimes I fantasize about using an Harry Potterian "obliviate" charm on myself so I would be able to read it like anew When I have it with games (not wanting to finish) it is usually a bad sign, most of the times I just lose interest, the payoff of cRPGs for me is in the development of the character, not in the conclusion of the (usual quite bland) story-arc. Planescape Torment being the big exception to this. Offcourse I might add
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August 16th, 2007, 16:52
@txa1265: I'm enjoying number 7 now but I was put off by the hype in the beginning. I read somewhere in another thread that from book 3 onward, ms. Rowling was in dire need of a good editor, I'm inclined to agree there, especially number 5 was bloated. But for serious fans too much is never enough. Did anyone hear that story about the sixteen year old French schoolboy who translated book number 7 from English to his native tongue and posted it on internet before the official translation came out? And that experts say that it's was a very good translation? I think he earned his English degree. He was going to be arrested and fined for infringing on copyright but supposedly Rowling got them to drop charges.
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August 16th, 2007, 17:44
Originally Posted by slam23 View Post
I read somewhere in another thread that from book 3 onward, ms. Rowling was in dire need of a good editor, I'm inclined to agree there, especially number 5 was bloated.
I know I said it, but especially starting at #4. Goblet of Fire read aloud was painful for the 200 pages of Quidditch World Cup. I found #5 not too bad despite the length, but 4 - 7 *all* could have shed at least a hundred pages through judicious editing.

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August 16th, 2007, 17:50
Originally Posted by slam23 View Post
@ Alrik: Kinderschoenen?
Not exactly. It's "Kinderschuhe". The phrase "sch" in "Schuhe" is exactly pronounced like the English "sh" phrase, which means that Germans tend to pronounce the English word "school" rather like the German "Schule" - whereas the German "u" is pronounced like two "o" -> "oo".
And the "kinder" should be known from the "Kindergarten" already.

Seriously, your thoughts are questions you put forward on Cortisol are right.
But we don't have scientific proof of that, not in Germany.
Intuitively I expect other countries to actually be far more developed in that respect, but here in Germany things have just begun (in Austria, for example, the first association was founded around the turn of the millennium, but here in Germany only in the last days of April - although so-called "talking groups" and "helping groups" exist for a longer time).

In a forum where I'm active in, we are currently collecting bits and pieces from scientific news and newspapers to try to build a mosaic out of that.

Depression is rather not uncommon among highly sensitive people (HSPs).

The current belief is that high sensitivity is a result of
- genetics or at least a "genetic disposition"
- traumata ("post-traumatic stress disorder syndrome" or similar things)
- both.

Look at Wikipedia for that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highly_sensitive_person

There still is a lot of work to do !
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August 17th, 2007, 15:18
Currently reading In Search Of Schrodinger's Cat by John Gribbin…very interesting read.
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August 17th, 2007, 16:01
Originally Posted by slam23 View Post
@ Alrik: Kinderschoenen?
@Prime Junta: having trouble saying goodbye maybe? I did not want to finish Lord of the Rings but I found that rereading has it's own merits. But sometimes I fantasize about using an Harry Potterian "obliviate" charm on myself so I would be able to read it like anew
I only wish. I don't want to sound like a snob about it, but while I found the Potters enjoyable enough, in the end they left me cold. I ended up just not caring much for the characters. Why? Perhaps because I didn't really find anything new in them — I grew up on (a) fantasy and (b) old children's books la Enid Blyton.

My impression of the Potters was a blend of Malory Towers and Dark is Rising, only with dorky names, wordier, and not as well written.

(BTW, if you haven't read Dark is Rising and you liked Harry Potter, you're in for a treat.)
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August 17th, 2007, 16:42
I gave up half way through the first Potter book(I very very rarely dont finish a
book) and never looked back.

When I think of good childrens literature my mind really goes to (recent):
Pullman (His Dark Materilas) or Corwin's compatriot Garth Nix (Abhorsen books)
or (The classics): George Mcdonald (The princess and the Goblin), John Masefield
(The box of delights) or Kenneth Graham (Wind in the willows).

To each his own I guess.

Now Reading: The Children of Hurin . Great Tolkien Fix. Reminds me that LOTR
is up for a reread (been a few years). Might even buy myself one of those fancy
anniversary editions to replace my battered Greek translation or Single volume
english Paperbacks.
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August 17th, 2007, 17:05
Pullman & Nix are good stuff but are for a much older audience. The Potter books are for kids growing out of the 'Magic Tree House' stories …

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August 17th, 2007, 17:17
I'm now rereading Mika Waltari's "Sinuhe the egyptian". By saying history comes alive is an huge understatement.. Also it doesn't only offer us a grand story, but it also tells something significant about humanity itself. Egyptian is one of those books which deeply influenced on me when I read it first time many years ago
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August 17th, 2007, 19:41
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Pullman & Nix are good stuff but are for a much older audience.
You have a point there. Especially Pullman whose antireligion agenda comes across a bit intense at places and It would be preferable that the reader be
of an age able to comprehend the symbolism used (but its not all that obscure
ofcourse and children are smart these days).
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August 17th, 2007, 20:15
I was reading through the translations of the 3 or 4 Harry Potter books.
I had to admit that they are creative, this at least.
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August 18th, 2007, 08:54
Perhaps we should begin a new thread for suggested children's books?

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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August 18th, 2007, 09:09
I don't like the distinction. Good children's books make for good reading no matter what your age is.
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August 18th, 2007, 09:11
Perhaps, but some books while good, are not suitable for children!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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August 18th, 2007, 12:03
And vice versa.

My favourite book is still "Frederick" by Leo Leonni. Pure poetry.
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August 18th, 2007, 12:37
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Perhaps, but some books while good, are not suitable for children!!
I see your point. Sounds like a good idea for a thread — list of book suggestions for kids with some idea of the age range in there too. Like so?

Tove Jansson: The Moomin series of books, ages 4 to senile.
Susan Cooper: The Dark is Rising sequence, ages 8 to senile.
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Earthsea trilogy, ages 12 to senile.
Mika Waltari: The Egyptian, ages 14 to senile.
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